“Writers Guidelines,” by Rachel Levy

Feb 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

1. Before submitting, please get an idea of what we tend to publish by, you know, READING OUR MAGAZINE.  And not just one issue, but several of them. It is disheartening, not to mention anxiety-inducing, for our editors to receive manuscripts from writers who clearly do not know much about us.

2. We take poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. We like work that seethes with exuberance. Work that grabs the reader, but in a really, really subtle way. We want to read something we’ve never read before (and this is where reading all of our back issues comes in handy) but that re-enforces what we are about thematically as a magazine. We like edgy work that pushes the envelope while acknowledging the collective history of the literary tradition.

3. We also don’t publish science fiction, romance, pornography, or society gossip. And we are really tired of poems about cats and cicadas–please don’t send us any work about those. We define pornography as any piece that uses inappropriate terminology, such as“cock,” “johnson,” “rod,” love stick,” “bald-headed yogurt slinger,” “100% all-beef thermometer,” ”baloney pony,” “cornholer,” “ding-a-ling,” “doinker,”  “joystick,” “Long Dong Silver,” “love muscle,” “meat popsicle,” or “purple-headed soldier man.”

4. We only accept up to three half-page poems or up to 2,197 words of prose.

5. Not to harp on this, but we’ll know it if you haven’t read our magazine. Copies are rarely available in libraries, unless they are bootleg and our sales department has been known to maintain records of credit card and other payments, with a corresponding list of names.

6. We accept work that is postmarked between October 23rd and January 18th , 1:36 p.m. of each calendar year. No exceptions! Any work that is received outside of these dates will be made part of our annual mock reading and subsequent bonfire. This is a well-attended event and all offending authors’ names are made public.

7. Please submit each genre separately. For poetry, each piece should be separate, not numbered, but stapled with your contact information on even-numbered pages and your name and the name of the piece on odd-numbered pages. For prose, we only want your name in the lower left-hand corner on the first page and last page. Otherwise, your name should not be ANYWHERE NEAR the manuscript. There should be absolutely no paperclips of any shape or form (although we do kind of like the vinyl-coated ones but only if they’re orange with blue polka-dots). Each piece should be accompanied by a stamped envelope, but please don’t address that—we’ll do that.

8. We mean it about the cats. We really don’t want to hear about your fucking cat. Or about any other cute, furry animals.

9. Turn-around time is anywhere from two weeks to eighteen months. And, absolutely no simultaneous submissions. If you like us as much as we think you do, you’ll wait for us. And we only contact you, by e-mail, only if we’re accepting the work.

10. Payment is two cents per word, minus a publication “reading” fee (market rates apply).


Rachel currently lives in Ashland, Virginia, and blogs at:  http://rantsravesandrecollections.blogspot.com and at http://foodrantsandraves.blogspot.com/ . Her work has most recently appeared in Defenestration, Mamaphonic, Literary Mama, and in Susanna Speier’s Politku column on the Huffington Post.

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